Diversity and media

Dealing with popular myths. Youth work against disinformation and distortion of historical facts

The project aims to map myths and distortions of historical facts among youth and deconstruct them through the tools of historic-civic education. Myths and distortions are carriers of stereotypes but, in many cases, young people accept them as truths and don’t question them. They become easy targets for groups spreading myths, which youth is not able to recognize as such. This behavior leads to the growth of prejudices and stereotypes, hate speech and radicalization. The inability to critically understand information becomes even more worrying in internet era because these myths can easily reach young people through social media.

The partners are working in the field of historic-civic education and are addressing these myths and distortions in order to deconstruct them. Still, we are missing the methodologies of how to do that. Through the project, we will get to know better what the most relevant myths for youth are, which topics to tackle and become more successful in our work. We will focus on myths from the past, covering the topics of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, anti-Gypsysm and Roma discrimination, anti-Muslim propaganda and xenophobia. We will consider nowadays myths and discuss how our societies are using these same patterns to create new “enemies and scapegoats”, with a focus on anti-migrant and anti-refugees propaganda. We will address shared European myths and distortions and we will tackle some particular myths and narratives specific for the countries involved.

Main objective: by deconstructing popular myths and distortions of historical facts, the project will contribute to equipping young people with the tools to combat radicalization, prejudices, and stereotypes and to decreasing the attraction for populism and authoritarianism among European youth.

Specific objectives: increase the capacity of the partners to work with youth on resisting popular myths and distortions of historical facts; combat the spreading of fake news and other forms of online disinformation; counter myths and distortions with narrations based on historical facts; speak against discrimination, segregation and racism; fight manipulation and propaganda; develop critical thinking and media literacy; strengthen democracy and promote the European values.

The main target groups are the project’s consortium, youth workers, teachers, youth and general public. The project is carried out transnationally because it aims to discuss issues that are shared by different European countries, both historically (discrimination of minorities, scapegoating and othering, Holocaust..) and contemporary (prejudices and stereotypes, fake news and hate speech..).

Tangible Results: We will produce 5 videos of about 3 minutes length each; each video will tackle one particular myth or historical distortion that will be then deconstructed through historical sources and historic civic education methodologies. We will also produce a toolkit of about 50 pages long that will contain: introduction and general concept of the project, desk research and a short introduction to the specific country cases, deconstructed myths (2 per country, 10 in total), description of the making of the video and suggestions of how to use them when working with youth, methods used during the project (in the blended mobilities and during the training), suggestions for youth workers and teachers of how to work with the project’s materials.